The Hidden Part, On Intimacy


Mister Steadman is the Little Debbie Man, brings us boxes of Debbies here to the Triple K Ranch House, where I work the pick-up window. He comes in like the rest for a 82 cent cup a coffee, except he, instead of commenting on my rather nice set of young birthing hips, hands over a box of Debbies – which no doubt could also be it’s own sort of comment. He’s a nice man, tips his change, 18 cents, like everyone else.

In the lull of the day, I drink milkshakes and refuse the Debbies. I sit on a stool and open the window up for the hill-breeze. I think of the poster on my bedroom wall, a lily from Georgia O’Keefe, and I know enough to know that too many things about that flower were also true about me, none of it outright said. I know I have a secret place.

Before I ever find intimacy with God, I learn by my sex, my sway, that there is something secret, invisible inside.

16 years later, I turn the corner at The Met, all New-York tired and alive at once, and there I see another lily, like walking right up to Georgia O’Keefe and her being naked. And me too. My tears in front of strangers are an unveiling of sorts, how painful and how freeing it is to see her art that way, how intimate and vulnerable she’s been so I can be, too.

Intimacy welcomes the pleasure and the pain of the partner. I see that now, how I too often turn my heart away, both afraid of pleasure and pain.

What does intimacy even mean? Oneness, closeness -to come to know another and thereby to redefine yourself? Is this where the pleasure is? In the pure, the broken down, the present melding, and the willing?

“Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” – Psalm 51:2

amberhaines
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7 Comments

Amber
Reply February 21, 2011

For the record, Mr. Steadman really was such a nice and, for all I know, very very good man. At that time in my life, I was learning what it meant to be a girl and making judgments on what it meant to be a man. It has never been easy for me to trust, a generational curse I believe that I still struggle with today in my relationship with God.

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}
Reply February 21, 2011

so much truth and beauty here. such a way with words.

Nish
Reply February 21, 2011

Damn, girl. This? Is GOOD.

emily wierenga
Reply February 21, 2011

i agree with nish one hundred percent.

Aimee
Reply February 21, 2011

This is beautiful. I'm much the same, both in itimacy issues and my love for Georgia O'Keefe's work.

God has been healing for a long time, and there's a stirring in my spirit that deep healing and much learning are on my horizon. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words.

Ann Voskamp
Reply February 22, 2011

"how intimate and vulnerable she’s been so I can be, too."

Thank you, Amber.

How many times can I murmur thank you?

Elora
Reply February 28, 2011

{sigh}

after this weekend, this is SO good. thank you.

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